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05/27/11 8:10 PM ET
Posey won't 'vilify' Cousins, plans to catch again
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Through the pain that continued to wrack his body on Friday, Giants catcher Buster Posey thought clearly and with conviction, as if he were calling a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded. Posey emphasized that he would not "vilify" Scott Cousins, the Florida Marlins reserve who plowed into him to score the go-ahead run in the 12th inning Wednesday night at AT&T Park. That collision left Posey with a broken lower left leg and torn ligaments in his ankle. Instead, Posey joined the chorus of people citing his misfortune as just cause for modified baserunning rules that would protect catchers from extreme physical harm. Posey issued his own medical report by surmising that he'll be sidelined for the rest of the season. "I think we'll know more once we do some surgery and stuff," he said in a conference call with Giants beat writers. "But I think it's highly likely that I probably won't be back, from what I've been hearing." Posey was most assertive -- and brief -- when asked whether he intended to resume catching once he's healthy. "Yes. One hundred percent. No question," he said, opposing the widely held belief that the reigning National League Rookie of the Year can lengthen his career and maximize his offensive production by moving to a corner infield spot. Nevertheless, Posey would like to see some changes. He echoed his manager, Bruce Bochy, who on Thursday pushed for a rule that would require baserunners heading home to run and slide in a "lane" if the catcher's not completely blocking the plate. Wednesday, Posey clearly stepped in front of home plate to take right fielder Nate Schierholtz's throw in an attempt to make a sweeping tag. "You can ask a lot of catchers. You're exposed," said Posey, who acknowledged watching replays of the sequence. "... I think there's a big difference if you're completely in front of the plate just camped out where the runner doesn't really have a choice at that point. But I feel like Cousins had a choice. I feel like he had a choice to either slide or come to me. And he came directly at me." Granted, in the heat of the moment, Cousins would have been challenged to think about executing a hook slide, or some such maneuver, away from Posey. For that matter, relatively few contemporary ballplayers even know how to perform a hook slide. They simply take a direct path -- feet-first, head-first or collision-style. Hence, Posey refrained from directly criticizing Cousins while urging baseball's hierarchy to examine such plays. "With today's game, I don't think [Cousins] did anything illegal," Posey said. "... I do feel like, looking at the replay, and from where I normally set up on the plate, that there was probably a lane to slide. Now I want to make this very clear. ... I'm not out to vilify Cousins in any way whatsoever. It happened; it's over with. But I think my main point I want to get across is that I just think a play like that is something that has to be looked at by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players' Association. "... This might sound dumb, [but] I feel fortunate that I've just got a torn-up leg. As a catcher, a lot of times you're left in a very exposed position, especially when you're trying to catch the ball and you have a guy bearing down on you as hard as you can. I feel fortunate it's just my leg that's hurt. You're not coming away with a neck injury or a spinal injury or something. Again, it's tough to be in a good position when all that's happened so fast." Posey said that he has not spoken with Cousins, who attended the University of San Francisco and displayed sincere remorse for his role in the incident. "I don't know if it really matters," Posey said, implying that he'd speak with Cousins "if it's something that would make him feel better. I can imagine from his standpoint, if I was where he is, I think that would be just about as difficult to know that a play I was involved with more than likely has put somebody out for the rest of the year. Again, I'm kind of indifferent, I guess." Posey said that of all the physicians, specialists and trainers he has consulted, none has called his injuries career-threatening. He also indicated that he won't rush himself back into uniform. "It's going to be a long, long road to recovery," said Posey, 24. "But it's something I believe I will be able to fully recover from. ... I think that the most important thing is to come back from this 100 percent, where there's not going to be any issues down the line. I don't think there's a set timetable, but I think the rehab process has definitely got to be done the right way." Posey's also aware of the thousands of people who will root for him through every step of that endeavor. "I just want to say how appreciative and grateful I am to all my teammates, the fans and the Giants organization for all their support," he said. "Just talking to family and friends and hearing about so many people that have reached out their best wishes. All that support's been very uplifting."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.